Member of the Papwa Sewgolum Transformation Class, Makhetha Mazibuko has acknowledged that he’ll be feeling a bit of pressure when the final round of the Altron Big Easy Tour Play-Off tournament tees off on Thursday.
His second-round two-under-par 70 catapulted him to the summit of the leaderboard on six-under for the week, a stroke clear of the field at Centurion Country Club, and Mazibuko has noted the challengers with some respect.
“There’s always going to be pressure when you’re leading,” said Mazibuko, “because of the nature of the competition and the competitors. There are some big-name players here this week, so there will be pressure, of course. But the important thing is to stick to your process; the stuff you’ve done in the first two rounds and then take it to the final round.”
Pressure or no pressure, the 34-year-old Mazibuko will be eager to get going in the final round of this penultimate tournament of the campaign. A closer look at his recent form is suggestive of a player who has been consistent, and following two days of solid golf in Centurion, the Bloemfontein Golf Club player will feel that victory is attainable this week.
“I have been playing well lately and I’m really confident,” added Mazibuko. “I won the King’s Cup a few weeks back and I feel good. But the truth is that it was tough out there. I missed a lot of putts and there were a few things I was disappointed with, but I am happy I was able to score a bit. I am glad to see the results are coming but I need to take these performances to the Sunshine Tour events as well.”
Piling the pressure on Mazibuko on Thursday will be a host of serial challengers, including Gerhard Pepler, Leon Visser, Carlo Heunis and Luke Trocado. They share second and Visser is particularly happy to be in the mix.
“It felt quite nice; I got off to a great start,” the 24-year-old Visser said. “I think I played really well the first two days and I am really happy to be up there. The final round is going to be exciting because the guys are playing solid golf. But I’m definitely going to leave it all out there tomorrow. I will try to put a low one in and we’ll see what happens.”
The final round of this ninth tournament of the season is promising to be a real spectacle, judging by how tight things are at the top, and among those who will fancy their chances will be Nicholaus Frade who is a member here. Frade is trailing by just two, at four-under, and knows this track well.
Despite shooting a 73 which included a gutting eight on the par-four sixth on Wednesday, Frade will know that round three will be a different game altogether and that a strong performance tomorrow could earn him a famous home victory.
The Play-Off Tournament at Centurion is the penultimate event of this 10-tournament season and only the top 50 players on the Order of Merit are eligible. The tournament carries prize money of R300,000.
By Matthews Mfubu (Fullpage Media and Communications)